This past Sunday, what is now considered the worst massacre in the 21st century, occurred at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida as 49 people were killed and 53 injured by a man entering the club and opening fire with an assault rifle. This tragedy affected friends and relatives of the victims and moved some of Broadway’s biggest names to come together and raise money/support for the LGBT community. Broadway and Hollywood stars will dedicate their talent to record (cover) 1960’s hit, “What the World Needs Now Is Love” by Jackie DeShannon.
The talent includes a full orchestra and some of the following participants: Sara Bareilles, Roger Bart, Kristen Bell, Wayne Brady, Matthew Broderick, Michael Cerveris, Gloria Estefan, Sutton Foster, Whoopi Goldberg, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Joel Grey, Sean Hayes, Heather Headley, Megan Hilty, Bill Irwin, Carole King, Jane Krakowski, Nathan Lane, Zachary Levi, Andrea Martin, Audra McDonald, Idina Menzel, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jessie Mueller, Rosie O’Donnell, Kelli O’Hara, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rosie Perez, Bernadette Peters, Billy Porter, Chita Rivera, Lillias White, Marissa Jaret Winokur, BD Wong. You can also view the People magazine cover tribute to the victims here.
On Sunday night, as theater artists celebrated this season’s achievements on Broadway at the 70th annual Tony Awards, some addressed the tragedy in several interviews, social media posts, and speeches. Here are some of the acknowledgments from a few of the song’s A-list stars:
When does this end? When do we demand a change? When do we finally wake up from this God awful nightmare? https://t.co/wJICoKBQ96
— Audra McDonald (@AudraEqualityMc) June 12, 2016
GO through these pictures. these are children of someone. friends to others. God loves us all! https://t.co/FOr9VvRj0K
— Heather Headley (@heatherheadley) June 13, 2016
The newly arranged song track will be available on Monday at BroadwayRecords.com. All of the proceeds will go to the LGBT Center of Central Florida. The song is currently available for preorder at $1.99. Join the rally for love as Broadway once again bands together as advocates of love and unity–two institutions shared and displayed widely among performers in tragic times–reminding us that what the world needs now is love.
Here’s a little preview!
HBO Releases Trailer for Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, April 22nd Premiere Date
Broadway’s greats have gathered to bring the legacy of Henrietta Lacks to HBO. Her life began in 1920 in Roanoke, VA, but her legacy lives on today. In January of 1951, she received a diagnosis of cervical cancer, which would be one of the important moments in medical history–and one of the most invasive.
Henrietta died in 1951 when the tumor spread throughout her body. During Henrietta’s treatment and diagnosis, her cells were taken without her consent or knowledge; her physicians would go on to use her cells for medical advancement. Twenty-four years passed until Lacks’ family became aware of this injustice.
In 2010, Oprah Winfrey confirmed development of Rebecca Skloot’s critically acclaimed, bestselling nonfiction book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks into an HBO film. Filming began in 2016, and at long last, HBO has finally released a trailer!
The trailer features Broadway producer Winfrey as Lacks’ daughter, Deborah Lacks. The trailer feels as intense as Lacks’ story. Hamilton’s Tony winner Renée Elise Goldsberry plays the role of Henrietta. Even in the trailer, their connection seems palpable; Henrietta died when Deborah was just two and the trailer shows Deborah’s desperate pursuit for her mother’s memory.
The cast also features performances by Reg E. Cathey (The Shawshank Redemption), Adriane Lenox (Doubt: The Parable), and Courtney B. Vance (The People v. OJ Simpson, Lucky Guy), Leslie Uggams (Deadpool, Hallelujah, Baby!), and Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Seven Guitars, Jitney). Shuffle Along’s George C. Wolfe directs from his screenplay adaptation of the novel.
The movie airs on HBO on April 22.
Audra McDonald Featured in Original Song for Live Action Beauty & the Beast
If the new Beauty & the Beast wasn’t on your radar before, go ‘head and lock in March 17, 2017 because Queen Audra is opening the show.
Broadway royalty Audra McDonald will be playing the role of the lively wardrobe, Madame De Garderobe and according to composer Alan Menken, will have a special moment in one of the three new songs written for the highly anticipated production.
“It’s a moment within the prologue, just before the spell befalls the castle,” noted Menken. “We’re actually at an event at the Prince’s castle, where the Prince is about to be turned into the Beast, and he’s in his very selfish and self-indulgent phase of his life, and we see that, and we have the magnificent Audra McDonald singing this number.”
McDonald is one major part of a star-studded cast including Broadway vets Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Josh Gad and Kevin Kline.
The tale is being brought to life under the direction of Dreamgirls and Chicago film director Bill Condon, so we know we’re in for a good thing!
Check out the trailer below and be sure not to be on CP time on March 17 so you can get ALL the life Mama McDonald has to give.
WATCH: Cynthia Erivo & Joshua Henry in The Last 5 Years
Last night was something like spectacular. Two of our favorite Broadway stars gave us a performance of a lifetime. Cynthia Erivo & Joshua Henry performed a concert version of one of every Broadway fans favorites, The Last 5 Years. We were privileged to be in attendance last night and will have more on the entire experience shortly but until we can find the words here is a taste of two numbers from last night’s show. The score is just so beautiful and to have it sung by two of Broadway Black’s extraordinary talents is, quite simply, a dream come true.
The performance was a benefit concert for The Brady Center , which is an organization committed to cutting gun-related homicide in half by 2025. This is a cause the show’s composer and director, Jason Robert Brown, is passionate about.
Watch the musical numbers “Still Hurting” and “Moving Too Fast” perfomed by Erivo & Henry below. Comment & tell us what you think!
BONUS CLIP: Cynthia Erivo singing “I Can Do Better Than That”
Let There Be Lips! FOX’s Rocky Horror to Air October 20th
Set your DVRs! FOX’s reboot of the cult classic musical “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” will air on October 20th, just in time for Halloween.
The two-hour special stars Laverne Cox in the iconic role of transvestite mad scientist and sexual psychopath Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Broadway veteran Ben Vereen also stars as Dr. Everett Scott, Frank’s arch-rival. Kenny Ortega (“High School Musical,” “Hocus Pocus”) directs.
With a rock score by Richard O’Brien, the story centers on newly-engaged sweethearts Brad Majors, played by Ryan McCartan, and Janet Weiss, played by Victoria Justice. After getting stuck with a flat tire on a stormy night, they stumble upon the mansion of Frank-N-Furter.
Throughout the evening, the lovers encounter a variety of eccentric characters, lose their sexual innocence, and meet Frank’s new Adonis creation — Rocky Horror — built to serve as his sexual companion.
FOX released a brand new trailer with a variety of new clues detailing what this broadcast may entail:
Judging by the movie theater setting, it looks like we’re going with the film-within-a-film route, with the movie’s audience watching “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Meaning, we can expect a lot of the famous audience participation quips and reactions — like the toilet paper.
The trailer features a lot of the “Time Warp,” led by Reeve Carney (Riff-Raff), Christina Milian (Magenta), and Annaleigh Ashford (Columbia). And are those loose golden boxers I see on Staz Nair, who plays the titular role of Rocky? Additionally, there’s a few blink-and-you-miss-it shots of Adam Lambert (Eddie).
Most importantly, we received our first glimpse of “Rocky Horror” O.G., Tim Curry, as he delivers the lyrics to the first steps in the “Time Warp” choreography. In one of his first major roles, Curry starred in the original The Rocky Horror Show stage musical and the subsequent film adaptation as Frank.
McCartan, Carney, Milian, and Justice recently appeared at the “Rocky Horror” panel at San Diego’s Comic Con to discuss the upcoming broadcast. FOX even revealed the first 25 minutes of the TV movie to fans. We’re told Cox’s Frank channels Tina Turner.
Looks like I’m taking that night off from work.
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” airs on FOX, October 20th, 8PM.
Leslie Odom Jr.’s Touching Speech to Cynthia Erivo at Sardi’s
I rarely use the hashtag #RelationshipGoals , but in this case I’ll make an exception. One of the most genuine, most talented friendships on Broadway between Leslie Odom Jr. and Cynthia Erivo is truly #FriendshipGoals.
Odom presented Erivo with her very own Sardi’s caricature drawing on July 12, in front of fellow Color Purple cast and costars, including Danielle Brooks and Heather Headley, and fellow Broadway friend Laura Benanti. Before the unveiling though, Odom offered up a few touching words about the talented singer/actress that brought us, and Cynthia, to tears. What he said is nothing short of the truth. In her Broadway debut at just 29-years-old, Erivo has earned herself a multitude of awards, including the coveted Best Actress in A Musial Tony, and earned her place in the hearts of millions who make their way to the Bernard B. Jacobs to be healed. With the current and ongoing outcry to get the rest of the world to understand #BlackLivesMatter , something special happens on 45th street to let us know that it’s going to be alright.
Speaking on the deaths of Prince and Muhammed Ali, Leslie says he received an important word from his pastor in L.A. who told him, “Mantles are falling. Mantles are falling and what that means is when a mantle falls,” pointing to Ervio, “it’s your turn to take over. They ran their race. They’ve done their part, now it’s your time.”
Check out the video below and as a bonus check out this AWW worthy Instagram post from Cynthia.
Sometimes in life you find people who automatically prove themselves to be family. I don’t have a biological brother but I was lucky enough to meet @leslieodomjr at a time in my life when a huge shift was happening, he made himself known and made it clear that his support was both full and limitless, he spoke yesterday and fed my heart, I may not have a BIOLOGICAL brother but I’d say it’s pretty awesome to have been able to CHOOSE this man as the brother I never had, thank you for your support Leslie you will forever have mine 🙂 💯💯
WATCH: Hamilton Star Leslie Odom Jr. Premieres ‘Autumn Leaves’ Video
Man, the man is non-stop!
Fresh off the heels of winning the Tony for Best Lead Actor in A Musical, Leslie Odom Jr. got up and shot a music video for ‘Autumn Leaves’ for 12 hours. Talk about work ethic and dedication.
The new video, which premiered yesterday on Rolling Stone, shows that Leslie does, in fact, have the range. Trading in his regimental coat for a sleek suit as he croons (in that swoon-worthy voice!) the soulful tunes of ‘Autumn Leaves.’ The sultry video is shot beautifully by director Simon Reinert and stars Odom’s own wife Nicolette Robinson as his leading lady (Aren’t they just the most adorable couple on the planet?). Check out the video below and if you haven’t already buy your copy of Leslie Odom Jr.‘s self-titled album.